What European Businesses Expect from Us

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This paper presents considerations of strategies for communicating the value of ‘business anthropology’ and ‘insights’ to sceptical business audiences, based on a number of studies with a total of 47 interviews with executives in 27 large companies in mainly Europe, but also the US. The paper will present four major insights deriving from the research and suggest how ‘insights’, ‘business anthropology’ and ethnography can potentially be applied to new areas within business in dire economic times, including, but also going beyond, the traditional areas of application, i.e. ‘innovation’ and ‘marketing’. I argue that the Practice can be expanded by moving beyond the identification of potential areas for innovation (the so-called unmet needs of users/customers/consumers/citizens), for instance to the identification of areas suitable for simplification: where users are currently having ‘over-met needs’, i.e. areas the user perceive as irrelevant and of little value. The paper will also explore the role of ‘business anthropology’ at a national policy level in Denmark and in the business community in Germany specifically.

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